Supply and demand reign supreme in Frankfurt's accommodation pricing. The city’s hotels cater mainly to business travellers and so tend to drop rates on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights), on public holidays and in July and August – but they soar during trade fairs.
The tourist office has a free hotel booking service. You can find furnished rooms and apartments through a Mitwohnzentrale (accommodation finding service), such as www.city-residence.de.
Trade Fair Accommodation
During major trade fairs, prices can triple or even quadruple. To keep costs down during fairs, many travellers stay outside the city and commute using Frankfurt’s fast, easy public transport system. In neighbouring cities such as Darmstadt, Wiesbaden and Mainz, which are an hour or less by S-Bahn from the trade fair grounds, prices rise less dramatically than in Frankfurt itself. You'll still need to book well ahead.
During trade fairs, Frankfurt's tourist office can arrange private rooms (single/double €60/85, with private bathroom €65/90).
At the airport, help with hotel reservations (including during trade fairs) is available from the Hotels & Tours desk.
The hotels at and around Frankfurt’s airport tend to be pricey. Nearby suburbs (eg Kelsterbach, Walldorf and Mörfelden) have places to stay but their public transport links with the city centre, including the Messe, are often less convenient than hotels in attractive, neighbouring cities such as Wiesbaden, Mainz and Darmstadt, which are linked to the airport and the city centre by speedy S-Bahn trains.
The centre of the centre offers easy access to the Dom, the parks along the river and the Innenstadt, but properties here are limited and come at a premium.
Staying in the inner city puts you close to the historic sites of the Altstadt, Frankfurt's tallest buildings, fine shopping and plenty of cultural venues, restaurants and nightlife, but it doesn't come cheap.
Messe, Westend & Bockenheim
The area immediately surrounding the Messe is home to surprisingly few hotels, so even trade fair-goers who can afford Frankfurt’s sky-high ‘Messe rates’ usually stay elsewhere in the centre, nearer to restaurants and other amenities.
Nordend & Bornheim
Northeast of the Innenstadt, this villagey part of town is ideal for enjoying a traditional Frankfurt-style meal, a mug of beer or a glass of apple wine.
The neighbourhoods east of the Innenstadt and the Nordend are known as the Ostend. Hanauer Landstrasse runs through the Osthafen (‘eastern harbour’) area.
A short stroll across the bridge from the city centre, the southern side of the river is brilliantly positioned for art along the Museumsufer (Museum Embankment) and bars and taverns in Alt-Sachsenhausen.
Train Station Area
The Bahnhofsviertel (the area around the main train station, the Hauptbahnhof) has lots of moderately priced places to stay, few of them noteworthy but all of them just a short walk from most of the city’s major sights. The Hauptbahnhof is a major S-Bahn (commuter rail), U-Bahn (metro/subway) and Strassenbahn (tram) hub, making it easy to reach both the airport and the Messe.
Be aware, however, that Frankfurt’s extremely sleazy red-light area, where drug users congregate, is just east of the station, on and around Elbestrasse and Taunusstrasse.